chapter  1
17 Pages

Foreign Cultural Models at the English Royal Court

The matter of foreign relations was at all points during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a touchy subject for the English. It is this "material" evidence and its surrounding courtly context which offers our point of entry into the shifting ideals and values of the early Tudor royal household, the background against which we can make sense of the cultural contradictions of the court. The view which associates the reign of Henry VII with a new international outlook at the English court has itself undergone numerous revisions and challenges, as scholars have demonstrated the existence of similar exchanges back through the reign of Edward IV. A close relation can be surmised between the penetration of continental dance forms into later fifteenth- and sixteenth-century England and the frequent elaborate entertainments staged at the royal court. The 1501 wedding celebrations mark the beginning of a new phase in English court entertainments, with the appointment of the composer William Cornysh as chief devisor.